The XX Factor

From Carly Fiorina to His Own Daughter, Donald Trump Is Obsessed With Sex Appeal

“Look at that face! Would anyone vote for that? Can you imagine that, the face of our next president?!” Above, Donald Trump speaks at the U.S. Capitol on Sept. 9, 2015, in Washington.

Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Surprise! Donald Trump has blessed the campaign news cycle with another gem of an anti-woman insult. A new Rolling Stone profile caught the Republican presidential candidate and erstwhile reality-TV boss watching the news with a critical eye on one of his competitors’ looks:

When the anchor throws to Carly Fiorina for her reaction to Trump’s momentum, Trump’s expression sours in schoolboy disgust as the camera bores in on Fiorina. “Look at that face!” he cries. “Would anyone vote for that? Can you imagine that, the face of our next president?!” The laughter grows halting and faint behind him. “I mean, she’s a woman, and I’m not s’posedta say bad things, but really, folks, come on. Are we serious?”  

Fiorina took it in stride. “Maybe I’m getting under his skin a little bit ’cause I am climbing in the polls,” she told Megyn Kelly, a former object of Trump’s misogynist ire.

This morning, Trump backtracked on CNN’s New Day. “I’m not talking about looks,” he said. “I’m talking about persona.” Calling Fiorina a “disaster CEO” who cost Hewlett-Packard thousands of jobs, Trump complained that the public doesn’t come to his defense when she and others launch insults his way.

It’s true that housepets and legacy print publications alike have made much ado about the real estate magnate’s ’do. But he can use his piles of money earned through discriminatory housing practices to dry his tears—private citizens gonna hate, and public figures have posses and PACs to help thicken their skin. We expect our leaders to uphold a more noble code of ethics than teens on Tumblr.

Time and again, Trump has shown that his worldview reduces women to their sex appeal. His Rolling Stone interview included a disturbing quip about his own daughter, Ivanka, too: “What a beauty, that one. If I weren’t happily married and, ya know, her father … ” The bit was recycled from a 2006 episode of The View, where he stated that if he weren’t Ivanka’s father, he’d date her. Trump is not the first father to regard his daughter as a sex object—men have been laying claim to their daughter’s bodies since before the dawn of tacky boardwalk T-shirts—but most stop short of making a public proclamation of their own desire to sleep with their children. Watch Ivanka smile and nod and marvel at the social circumstances that have produced a man who can go through life making casual suggestions of incest and still lead the Republican presidential field.

Trump’s comments about Fiorina are particularly irksome because of her gender; women are judged by their appearances far more severely and with far greater consequences than men, so decent human beings and political candidates aren’t “s’posedta” dwell on their looks. (They probably shouldn’t refer to a woman as “that,” either.) Trump fans would do well to consider whether their preferred candidate would be capable of pushing through any kind of political agenda without consulting Hot or Not.